By Sami Elizondo

Whether you like studying in the complete silence of your dorm, or the bustling George Sherman Union with plates of Panda Express floating around you, one thing that could improve the quality of your grind is music. However, not just any tunes — lo-fi music in particular.

I started listening to lo-fi music by accident when I went to a friend’s house to work on a group project. We had trouble concentrating on the task at hand and so she connected her phone to the speaker and started playing a playlist titled “lofi hip hop music – beats to relax/study to” on Spotify.

At first thought, one may be skeptical of this idea. I know I was. Before I had my lo-fi study music revelation, I thought studying in silence was the only way to do it. After all, wouldn’t music be more of a distraction than anything? And as a lover of all music — except for country — I was hesitant to try it out. To my surprise, I learned studying in silence comes second to studying with lo-fi.

If you’re anything like me, you have trouble mustering up the energy and motivation to begin studying. I finally get into a rhythm once I have been concentrating for longer than 10 minutes. However, it is the actual act of sitting down to begin studying that is a trap.

It is so easy for you to see a notification on your phone and drop whatever assignment you are working on just to open a low-quality picture of half of your crush’s face. As I said, it is a trap. This is because when you start studying, a million things are still on your mind. For your study session to be effective, you must clear your mind of all distractions and mental garbage.

This is where the lo-fi playlist comes in. First, you need to put your phone on Do Not Disturb and exit out of all of your applications. This is probably the hardest part for most people, but I promise you, TikTok and Instagram can wait. Next, start playing the playlist. For me, the music instantly relaxes me. I give myself two minutes, or the length of the first song, to sit in silence and collect myself and my thoughts.

These two steps alone work for me most of the time, however, I sometimes set a 20-30 minute timer on my phone indicating a five-minute break period when I can move my body, stretch, get water, scroll through Pinterest or respond to texts. This way, I have something to look forward to. This method is called the Pomodoro Technique, and I have found it very effective when coupled with the lo-fi beats.

Whether this study routine works for you or not, giving it a try will take practically zero effort. Who knows, you could end up learning something about the way your brain functions, and you may even see a positive difference in your grades.